Jim’s Steaks crowd singing Boyz II Men | photo courtesy of Ernest Stuart | instagram.com/onlyernest

Well, there’s certainly an easy answer to the question I just posed: because it’s a freaking awesome song. Because it’s a timeless Philly classic. Because everybody of a certain age (read: 30+) knows it word-for-word, and many people in the much-younger and much-older demographics are nonetheless familiar, and can still follow along.

But more specifically, there’s the video as captured by Philly lounge/rock/theatrical impresario Johnny Showcase, which went viral on Facebook yesterday. Without a lot of context or commentary, it just shows the scene – a hungry crowd at 3 a.m. spontaneously breaking into song and belting out “End of the Road,” the multi-award-winning 1991 hit by Philly R&B heores Boyz II Men. Showcase concludes “this is why I love this city.”

It looks like a singular moment in time, a spectrum of people from a spectrum of backgrounds coming together over food and music. It’s utopia, I tell you. But it also makes me wonder, well, how the heck did it happen?

Easily recognizable in the suit vest and stylish hat at the front of the line is Ernest Stuart, Philly trombonist and founder of the Center City Jazz Festival. We contacted him to find out what the heck happened, and he graciously filled us in. “That night was incredible,” he begins, pointing out that he had just finished performing with the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret in a sold-out Prince tribute at The TLA. The clock struck 3, and the venue staff cleared the lingering musicians out of the green room to lock up the venue.

As Stuart continues:

Once we got inside me, Johnny Showcase, Dito, and a handful of others decided to grab cheese steaks from Jim’s. Five minutes into our wait, Boyz II Men comes on the in-house stereo. Nothing really happened until the chorus. Everyone who knew it started belting it at the top of their lungs. Hahaha. It was incredible. Everyone in line was thinking the exact same thing at the same time. The result was a hilariously beautiful, and authentically Philly moment. All I could think was “Wait, I just finished a show at the TLA, walked over to Jim’s for a cheese steak, and sung Boyz II Men, loudly. Tonight was literally the most ‘Philly’ night of my life.”

Watch Stuart’s video of this magic moment below. Below it, you’ll find the original 1991 video from Boyz II Men. Click play and sing along.